Mesh Bladder Sling Lawsuits

by Steve Fields on May 7th, 2012

Thousands of women have reported painful vaginal mesh side effects after undergoing transvaginal placement of a bladder sling to correct stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Many of these women have suffered injuries that have lowered their quality of life. They have experienced vaginal and abdominal pain, infection, and erosion of the device through the tissue of the vagina. Hundreds of women have filed mesh mesh bladder sling lawsuits, demanding compensation for these and other injuries.

Mesh has been used to repair urethral problems associated with SUI since the 1990s. The FDA approved the first mesh device specifically designed for this purpose in 1996. It wasn’t long before reports of complications began to surface. Boston Scientific’s ProteGen Sling, approved by the FDA in 1997, attracted a number of complaints. It was withdrawn from the market less than two years later. Another vaginal sling, called ObTape, likewise drew intense criticism. In 2006, it too was pulled from the market.

These two medical fiascos were merely the beginning. There remain other bladder slings on the market designed for vaginal installation that continue to cause serious injuries. Women who have received one of these implants to relieve symptoms of SUI, and developed vaginal mesh complications, are encouraged to contact a pelvic mesh lawsuit attorney.

Stress Urinary Incontinence: Causes And Side Effects

Millions of women suffer from SUI. The condition is defined by the involuntary loss of urine when pressure is placed on the abdomen. This can happen when women laugh, cough, or exercise. The condition’s severity differs by patient.

The leakage is due to a weakening in the muscles that control the flow of urine. Normally, urine is stored in the bladder until a person feels the urge to urinate. At that time, the muscles in the bladder’s wall contract, pushing urine into the urethra. It flows through the urethra and exits the body.

Prior to urination, the urethral sphincter, two muscles that encircle the urethra, tighten around the tube to prevent urine from passing. With SUI, these muscles are incompetent. They cannot tighten sufficiently, and thus allow urine to leak. Women who first notice the problem may start to wear dark clothes, or use sanitary napkins, to hide the effects. But the problem usually worsens with time, and warrants medical treatment.

Bladder Sling Procedure To Correct SUI

It’s important to note that stress urinary incontinence is not caused by a problem with the bladder. The issue is with the urethra – specifically, the inability of the urethral sphincter to seal off the opening of the urethra. The procedure to correct SUI involves installing a sling underneath the tube. The sling functions like a hammock, applying pressure on the underside of the urethra. The pressure prevents involuntary leaks.

Traditionally, the surgical mesh was implanted through abdominal incisions. The procedure later evolved to installing the mesh strip through an incision made into the vaginal wall. The ends were then pulled through abdominal incisions. Today, the device is usually implanted entirely through the vagina. The ends of the mesh strip are anchored into the obturator internus muscles.

The entire operation can usually be completed in less than an hour. However, as noted, the vaginal mesh sling has been linked to serious side effects.

FDA Warns Of Bladder Sling Complications

The FDA became aware of a problem when nine surgical mesh manufacturers forwarded over 1,000 reports of complications. The reported issues were associated with transvaginal mesh placement to correct SUI and pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Women complained about infection, pain, bleeding, and erosion of the device. Many had also experienced a recurrence of their incontinence. In 2008, the FDA noted that although the complications could lead to serious consequences, they were “rare.”

In 2011, a second warning about vaginal mesh placement was issued. In the three-year period leading up to that point, the FDA had received nearly three times as many adverse event reports. Given this dramatic rise, the side effects – pain, bleeding, infection, erosion, etc. – were now defined as “not rare.” This admission spurred hundreds of women to file transvaginal mesh lawsuits against the manufacturers.

If you have suffered from bladder sling complications, we urge you to contact us to discuss pursuing a surgical bladder sling lawsuit settlement. You may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries and accompanying medical bills. Contact us at your earliest convenience.

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